Gt. Jackson St.

Tell us about your layout, where you put it, how you built it, how you operate it.
ralphrobertson
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Gt. Jackson St.

Postby ralphrobertson » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:46 pm

The Manchester show at the Corn Exchange in December 1962 probably influenced more people than just me but the sight of John Langan's 'Presson' layout remained in my mind from that moment on - superb trackwork, slow running locos and automatic coupling. The Model Rail Study Group articles in the Model Railway Constructor also had a big influence, my father had always made his own track, albeit to 00 gauge, and I have always admired well made trackwork so P4 seemed the obvious choice for me once Studiolith started selling their products and in the early 1970s this was the road I decided to take.

My history includes a short time in the North London Group in Whetstone followed by founding the Manchester group of the Scalefour Society in those early days of Scalefour. Ken York was the driver of that, you had to be careful what you said when he was around otherwise you were 'volunteered'. Moving on more years than I care to remember I became a member of the Manchester Model Railway Society, the one that had influenced my life back in 1962 and I was taken under the wings of the likes of Sid Stubbs and Norman Whitnall who were superb tutors and freely imparted their knowledge and skills to anyone who was interested in developing their own.

As time progressed I became more and more involved in Slattocks Junction and learned an awful lot from the ups and downs of the construction of the layout. Another of my mentors is Dick Petter of the Crewe area group. Besides his superbly running locos he makes excellent trackwork and he does this by using techniques that work for him. His work on the Slattocks trackwork shows how things can be made to work well and it is with this in mind and with all the other techiques people have shared with me over the years that I decided it was time to build my first 18.83 layout.

The home for this layout was to be in my shed. This is actually more of a fully insulated chalet type timber building from Dunster House which replaced my old spider infested leaky concrete garage a few years back. It is 5mtrs by 3mts and I opted for some laser cut baseboards from Tim Horn for the layout. This was a good choice as they were all put together one afternoon and are exactly what I was looking for. In the end I bought 2 4ft by 18ins boards complete with a viewing arch in the style of Iain Rice. I have always admired Iain's work and the opportunity to get baseboards built like that from square one is one that I found was worth every penny.

The name of the layout came very early on and is definitely designed to honour the late Alex Jackson who developed the AJ coupling back in the late 1940s/early 1950s. I have been supplying jigs that help make up the couplings for about 10 years now so it is only fitting that I should give the layout his name. The design is an urban scene on multi layers and mainly exchange sidings between BR and an industrial line somewhere in the Manchester area together with feeds into a few factories. Seeing Mr. Rice's plans of various layouts over the years have rubbed off on me and the names 'Canonsgate Goods Depot', 'Livingstone Street' and 'Paradise Fields' have all been infuences to Gt. Jackson St. as has 'Horsley Bank'. I am sure I am not the only one who has been inspired by Iain's designs.

The structure is now complete and work has commenced on the track. The lighting and electrics are all in place and I will try and get some photos sorted out so you can get a flavour of what I am talking about.

ralphrobertson
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby ralphrobertson » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:56 pm

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What you get from Tim Horn


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The left hand board made up


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The right hand board made up


Here are the baseboards being built in my loft, at the time it was the only free space I had to make them up and they did get through the hatch and into the shed later.

ralphrobertson
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby ralphrobertson » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:07 pm

Here are a few shots of the design of the track. Flexi track ex Slattocks is being used to plan the flow of the track together with Templot printouts. Flexi track will not be used here, got no place here. There will be a road called Gt. Jackson St. on the left hand board and the nameplate is going to be placed above it. The nameplace was laser cut at the Fablab in Altrincham using 2mm MDF. Anyone who wants to get into laser cutting and 3D printing would be well advised to visit your local Fablab where you can be shown how to use the facilities for free and it is an excellent way to learn new skills and techniques.

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The left hand end. BR is on the top, industrial lower down


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The right hand end. Little loco shed to block exit track


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The street will be here somewhere

ralphrobertson
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby ralphrobertson » Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:38 pm

A great deal of time was spent sorting out how to move this layout around and what to stand it on. The stands are actually those that appear from time to time in Aldi modified although I am sure they are also available via Screwfix or Toolstation. They are reduced in width and there are 3, one at each end and one in the middle.

I made some cover boards which are attached by hinges with removable pins. These cover the layout completely and clip down at the back of the layout. In use the layout is opened up and the covers drop down and just clear the floor. I envisage that they could also be used as a crowd (what already?) barrier if I attach some small legs to the top cover. Anyway they keep the dust off in the shed.

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Narrowed Aldi baseboard stands.


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Layout covers in place


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Back of layout with covers clipped in place


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Covers opened for business

ralphrobertson
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby ralphrobertson » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:06 pm

For the trackwork I am only using ply and rivet. We had so many issues with flexi track on Slattocks I just don't want to waste any time using it and prefer to spend a bit longer laying ply and rivet track and make sure it can be easily adjusted if I need to. I am happy to spend time gluing chairs on once the track runs smoothly, I have had enough of f***ting about with plastic sleepers and gauging issues so my methods probably won't agree with many out there.

As I had decided to use ply and rivet I thought about making the rivet holes in a better way. Punching them by hand with a press is not easy and you usually end up replacing some timbers to get a better rivet alignment. My experience using the laser cutter at the Fablab showed it was easily possible to make the holes in the timbers accurately providing you can draw up a template so I tried it out. Well, it works very well and the following photos show the results.

There are a few versions here but the latest version uses Templot output. Thanks to Martin Templot generates a DXF file which can be imported into most CAD packages. I use Coreldraw and it was relatively easy to produce a new template with rivets in the correct positions for all rails.

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An early version of a 2-up B6 - note sleepers are numbered and this is a right hand turnout


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Using the frame as a locating jig -- no more double sided tape


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Still some minor changes but nearly there!


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D denotes timbers which have droppers


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Final version ex Templot


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A jig for straight track. The gap is for a droppered sleeper


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Made up turnout with droppers and stretcher attached

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Mike Garwood
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby Mike Garwood » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:17 pm

That is a brilliant idea! Were any of the holes for the rivets over sized at all? And if I may ask what thickness did you use for the sleepers. Really innovative, big thumbs up!

Mike

ralphrobertson
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby ralphrobertson » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:39 pm

Mike, the ply is actually 1/32nd ply, 0.8mm which matches the standard stores timber thickness. The rivet hole diameter actually depends upon the laser cutter and the width of the laser beam when it cuts. In this instance the diameter I used is 1.15mm and the rivets slide in easily and are not loose. In the first few trials I had to open the rivet holes slightly with a broach but the big plus point is that they are in alignment with the rail and it is a minor job to open them out. I hope the days of punching holes in timber strips is over!

Ralph

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RobM
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby RobM » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:47 pm

Ralph, all very interesting. Seeing the underside of your Aldi trestles has solved a small design issue I was dealing with. I have the Screwfix edition (on offer at the time) and have added 2 x 1" square aluminium longitudinal sections and can now see how I can positively locate the layout.
Palatine droppers I am a great fan of.....can be used on the flat or bent through 90 degrees and dropped through the baseboard.....I always solder the rivet as a belt and braces job albeit that my turnouts are a combination of rivet and ply and functional chairs.
Rob
http://www.robmilliken.co.uk
Updated December 2016

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Will L
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby Will L » Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:43 pm

Did you laser cut your own plain sleepers, or get them from the stores?

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby Martin Wynne » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:02 pm

For those without laser cutting facilities, Templot will print the rivet hole positions.

If Templot is set to print the rail centre-lines instead of the rail edges, you get the rivet hole positions, where the rail centres cross the timber centres, like this:

Image

This shows a crossover in EM. One turnout has the more usual style of rail detail for comparison. Click the generator > generator settings > rails > rail head centre-lines only menu option, then rebuild the required templates as a group (or all of them), before printing them.

Print on tracing paper (which works fine in an inkjet printer if you load a single sheet at a time), then spray the print with Spraymount adhesive (blue can -- peelable) and lay the 4mm strip plywood timbers in position. Then turn the whole thing over and drill 1mm holes with a mini-drill on each rivet position through the tracing paper.

The timbers can then be peeled off, revetted and glued onto the final construction template.

Templot lets you set the printed line thicknesses to suit your printer. For precision marking like this it's probably best to set thinner lines than usual, as in the above print. Notice also that when you print the rails as centre-lines, Templot makes the timber centre-lines solid instead of the usual dashed centre-lines.

regards,

Martin.
39 years developing Templot. And counting ...

ralphrobertson
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby ralphrobertson » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:24 am

Will L wrote:Did you laser cut your own plain sleepers, or get them from the stores?


Will, I had the sleepers in stock and have had them for years but they were not laser cut. The standard issue sleepers use the same thickness as I used for the crossing timbers.

Martin, that is most useful thanks. I didn't know Templot that well to be able to do that, I simply used the rails themselves as rivet points, your method is going to be a lot quicker when I get to do more.

Moves are afoot to make these ready cut turnout timbers I have been working on available to everyone, I will tell you more when I know for sure.

Ralph

ralphrobertson
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby ralphrobertson » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:34 am

RobM wrote:Palatine droppers I am a great fan of.....can be used on the flat or bent through 90 degrees and dropped through the baseboard.....I always solder the rivet as a belt and braces job albeit that my turnouts are a combination of rivet and ply and functional chairs.
Rob


Hi Rob, I have soldered the droppers to the rivets too, easy to do when you are making a turnout and before gluing it in place. I have also started filing the rivets flush with the timber to make sure the track is flat to the cork I am using. A quick job when preparing the timbers and it stops any humps in the track.

I spent quite a bit of time with the layout stands drilling holes, cutting metal and making brackets. By using the supports and some timber links it makes for a good strong structure. If you would like a photo of this on its own let me know and I will get one taken.

Ralph

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RobM
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby RobM » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:56 pm

ralphrobertson wrote:
Hi Rob, I have soldered the droppers to the rivets too, easy to do when you are making a turnout and before gluing it in place. I have also started filing the rivets flush with the timber to make sure the track is flat to the cork I am using. A quick job when preparing the timbers and it stops any humps in the track.
Ralph


I build my track in situ so I glue a layer of cork then templot templates printed on card. Rivets are only used for electrical feeds and under the V crossing nose and anywhere else that needs supporting. I then cut away into the card templates to accommodate the soldered Palatine droppers and all lies flat.

ralphrobertson wrote:I spent quite a bit of time with the layout stands drilling holes, cutting metal and making brackets. By using the supports and some timber links it makes for a good strong structure. If you would like a photo of this on its own let me know and I will get one taken.
Ralph


Thanks Ralph re the photo offer but with the help of your photo above I've now got it sussed for Mount Woodville, hole drilling and making brackets but you could always post it for the benefit of others.
Cheers Rob
http://www.robmilliken.co.uk
Updated December 2016

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iak
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby iak » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:29 am

ralphrobertson wrote:
Moves are afoot to make these ready cut turnout timbers I have been working on available to everyone, I will tell you more when I know for sure.

Ralph



Now that has a splendid ring to it... :thumb
Mind, I do like your layout concept and the work so far...
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it....

Perfection is impossible.
But I may choose to serve perfection....
Robert Fripp


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ralphrobertson
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby ralphrobertson » Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:04 pm

iak wrote:Mind, I do like your layout concept and the work so far...


Thanks, hope I can keep it up :D

Ralph

ralphrobertson
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby ralphrobertson » Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:37 pm

I can now reveal that the laser cut turnout timbers will be available from the Scalefour Stores at Wells next weekend. Currently only B6L and B6R have been produced but I believe more variants are on the way. I am sure Jeremy will expand on this in due course. Andy, who has produced them, will be opening his own online shop in the next couple of weeks and once that is online I will post the link here for all you guys.

In the meantime work on Gt. Jackson St. is continuing and the first train has run. The top level trackwork on the right hand board has been made and I am sorting out the wiring and turnout operation. Once this is complete I will post some pics.

Ralph

ralphrobertson
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby ralphrobertson » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:18 am

Andy has now got his web shop going and is taking orders for B6 turnouts. Those who are interested can go to http://www.ebmahobby.co.uk and purchase direct or via the Scalefour Stores at Wells this coming weekend.

Ralph

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby Martin Wynne » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:50 pm

Hi Ralph,

I see in the photo that you are using the rivets to attach the electrical connections?

This idea is fundamentally flawed as has been demonstrated several times over the years since the original Studiolith connector strips.

In general, a physical fixing should never be used as an electrical connection. It will be subject to stress, vibration, thermal expansion, etc., and is likely to work loose.

In the case of Brook Smith rivets, it is inevitable that the soldered rail fixing will have fractured on a few of them after a few years. Guess which ones it always turns out to be? And after the track is laid and ballasted it is very difficult to find or fix them.

It is 10 times more reliable to make electrical connections directly to the rail. If you drill a 0.5mm hole through the rail web, you will have fresh clean metal and need only a smear of solder cream (SMT paste, 2% silver). Use solid 0.5mm tinned wire (from old telephone cables) to make a very neat connection. If you drill close to a chair it will look for all the world like a rail anchor.

We have been here before, see: viewtopic.php?p=34029#p34029

Rail anchors:

Image

regards,

Martin.
39 years developing Templot. And counting ...

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iak
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby iak » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:56 am

ralphrobertson wrote:Andy has now got his web shop going and is taking orders for B6 turnouts. Those who are interested can go to http://www.ebmahobby.co.uk and purchase direct or via the Scalefour Stores at Wells this coming weekend.

Ralph


Well a couple of B6 turnouts are now ordered - time for a wee play.... :thumb
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it....

Perfection is impossible.
But I may choose to serve perfection....
Robert Fripp


https://www.facebook.com/groups/PadgateWorks/

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RobM
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby RobM » Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:16 pm

Ralph, can I ask what lighting you are using and where you sourced it? I can see that it is LED, I have LED strip under my kitchen cabinets but they produce multiple shadows being 35mm apart.
Rob
PS. Trestles all sorted and solid as a rock...... :thumb
http://www.robmilliken.co.uk
Updated December 2016

ralphrobertson
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby ralphrobertson » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:45 am

Away on holiday in a rainy west Wales at the moment so I can't take any photos for you Rob.

The LED strips I bought from banggood.com, https://www.banggood.com/Wholesale-LED-Strip-c-2512.html. They come direct from China and it takes about 4 weeks to arrive but they are so much cheaper than what you can buy here and you can get different colours and experiment without breaking the bank. You can also buy the electrical components you need to complete job. I have only had one problem with something bought from them and although I tried to get a replacement it didn't arrive. That was actually a dimmer for the LED strip and in the end I found it wasn't necessary so I was not that bothered.

I have 2 LED rows at the moment, one on the back and one on the front. They are mounted onto some old windbreaker poles which are held to the facia and backboard with spring clips so that they can be rotated to get the right angle when the time comes when I have got my buildings in place. Right now I am thinking I might need to add another one down the centre of the layout but I will leave that much later in the build if necessary. Putting the top cover board on makes a big difference to the lighting and it may be that I need to do that when the layout is running to even out the lighting, time will tell. I did find it necessary to add some tiewraps to the poles as the adhesive on the LED strip, despite it saying it is from 3M, is not that permanent. I will post some photos for you when I get home next week so you can see how it all works.

Regarding the track droppers, again time will tell if using them will cause any problems. In my view the issue in the past has been using the early Studiolith rivets that were coated steel and over time the coating parted company with the rivet causing a lot of problems as resoldering to the rivet was not easy. With brass rivets this should be a lot easier. Anyway, I intend to keep using them on my track on Gt. Jackson St. despite your warnings thanks.

Ralph

Alan Turner
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby Alan Turner » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:48 am

Check out LED Lighthouse: https://www.led-lighthouse.co.uk/

A bit more expensive perhaps than eBay but delivery is quicker and the range is greater. Have a look at "Neutral White". That's what we use on Ellerton Road.

regards

Alan

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RobM
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby RobM » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:29 pm

Thanks Ralph and Alan. I've been wading through all the LED suppliers and checking options. So far my option has been under cabinet strip lights from Ledhut. I will be going for cool/neutral white but time is running out to get them before Scaleforum. I'll have a closer look at Led-Lighthouse and then toss a coin......
Thanks again, Rob.
http://www.robmilliken.co.uk
Updated December 2016

shipbadger
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby shipbadger » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:38 pm

I have LED strip under my kitchen cabinets but they produce multiple shadows being 35mm apart.

Rob,

Do you have a diffuser over your LEDs under the cabinets? When I first put up the LEDs under my cabinets I had pools of light as you describe. They disappeared completely once the diffuser was in place. I've been peering behind layout fascias at the last few shows I've been to and noticed that most people are using 'naked' LEDs. Perhaps the height from the baseboard means the pools of light spread out.

Tony Comber

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Penrhos1920
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Re: Gt. Jackson St.

Postby Penrhos1920 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:57 pm

Alan Turner wrote:Check out LED Lighthouse: https://www.led-lighthouse.co.uk/

A bit more expensive perhaps than eBay but delivery is quicker and the range is greater. Have a look at "Neutral White". That's what we use on Ellerton Road.

regards

Alan

Do you mean 'natural white'?
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